Champagne Layer Cake

Champagne Cake {{Baking Bytes}}I hope you cherished or survived your Valentine’s Day, depending on where you stand with the so-called holiday. My anniversary with M happens to fall on this overly Hallmarked date and on that Saturday we celebrated six years together. We celebrated with a bike ride given the ridiculous lack of winter but it was a wonderful day nonetheless. M makes dinner (usually Swedish meatballs; yum) and I make a layer cake.

Champagne Cake {{Baking Bytes}}

I’ve made chocolate and raspberry and peanut butter and chocolate, as well as other delicacies not featured on this blog, and all were very delicious. This year, however, I was looking for something different. I perused Pinterest and implored the masses on Facebook, and happened across a scrumptious-sounding champagne cupcake on Sprinkle Bakes. Obviously I was looking to build a layer cake and not cupcakes, but the recipe looked easily adaptable. Just in case, I questioned Heather, the brilliant author of SB. Not only is she a brilliant blogger, but she’s a delightful person and promptly assuaged my very minimal doubts. Next step: buy champagne!

Champagne Cake {{Baking Bytes}}

I chose a bottle of Barefoot Bubbly Pink Moscato Champagne, because I like Barefoot wine and a sweet champagne seemed like a solid plan. As a bonus, the reduced champagne in the frosting tinted it a very pale pink which I felt was appropriate given the occasion. Although it seems like a lot of steps, each part of this cake came together easily and could definitely stand on its own. Together, however, they create a supremely champagne experience without feeling like you’re getting drunk off dessert. (Not that getting drunk off dessert is necessarily a bad thing. Pudding shots, amiright?)

Despite having nearly the entire bottle within the various pieces, it’s still a fairly light cake. The taste of champagne is definitely prominent but not overwhelming, and I felt it was a welcome change to the usual chocolate confections. I think M was a little disappointed it’s not the kind of cake you pair with ice cream, but I promised to make it up to him on his birthday.

Champagne Cake {{Baking Bytes}}

A soft crumb and a custard filling enveloped in a fluffy frosting make for a textural dream in addition to the totally different but amazing flavor. It would be an especially lovely ending for a dinner party if you’re a classy folk but would be great for any special occasion. If you’re looking to switch it up from all the usual flavors, this is the cake for you.

Champagne Cake {{Baking Bytes}}

Champagne Cake

Adapted from Sprinkle Bakes
Makes one 9″ cake

Ingredients

1 cup butter, room temp
2 cups granulated sugar

4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla

3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

1 cup sour cream
1 cup champagne

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter and flour two 9″ cake pans, lining the bottoms with parchment paper. (Butter and flour the paper as well).
  2. Cream  together butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing completely after each one. Mix in vanilla.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  5. In another bowl, whisk together champagne and sour cream. Mixture will be fizzy.
  6. Starting and ending with the flour, alternate adding it and the sour cream mixture to the stand mixer. Batter will be thick.
  7. Divide evenly between prepared cake pans (about 3.5 cups of batter per pan) and bake for 30-35 minutes. Cake will brown but that’s okay! Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Freeze completely cooled cake layers for 30 minutes or until ready to use.

Champagne Cake {{Baking Bytes}}

Champagne Cream Filling

Makes about 2 cups

Ingredients

1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup champagne
1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp sugar

1/4 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 egg + 2 egg yolks

2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla

Directions

  1. Combine 1/4 cup heavy cream, champagne, and sugar in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high then remove from heat.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup heavy cream and cornstarch, then mix in the eggs and egg yolks.
  3. Slowly stream in one third of the hot champagne mixture, whisking constantly so the egg doesn’t cook.
  4. Bring the remaining champagne and heavy cream mixture to a boil again, then stream in the egg mixture, whisking constantly until it thickens to a pudding-like consistency.
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in butter and vanilla.

Champagne Cake {{Baking Bytes}}

Champagne Buttercream Frosting

Makes just enough for one 9″ double-layer cake

Ingredients

1 cup champagne

1 cup butter, room temp
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 Tbsp champagne

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, reduce 1 cup of champagne to 2 tablespoon. Pour into a small bowl and allow to cool.
  2. Add butter and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixture and mix briefly by hand to incorporate the sugar.
  3. Cream together with the whisk attachment until mixture is well combined and fluffy, scraping the bowl once or twice as necessary.
  4. Mix in reduced champagne and additional tablespoon of champagne from the bottle.

Assembly Instructions

Ingredients

2 champagne cake layers
1 batch champagne filling
1 batch champagne buttercream frosting

Directions

  1. Prepare a cake board, trimming if necessary.
  2. Level cake layers. Place a small amount of frosting on the cake board and gently press one cake layer on top.
  3. Evenly spread desired amount of filling on the cake (I used the whole batch), then gently press the second layer on top (cut side down) making sure it’s level. Then use a spatula (or your finger) to ensure the edges are smooth.
  4. Spread and/or pipe the frosting on the cake, and decorate as desired.

Notes

This was barely enough frosting to spread on the cake. If you intend to do any piping or you like a lot of frosting, I recommend making 1.5 batches.

Peanut Butter Layer Cake

Happy President’s Day! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend (and Valentine’s Day, if you’re into that sort of thing.) Friday marked my 5-year anniversary with M, and as usual I baked a cake for the occasion. Each year I use a brand new recipe I’ve never tried, but luckily so far all of them have been delightful. Two years ago was a chocolate raspberry layer cake, and last year was a black forest chocolate cake I haven’t added to this blog yet. Maybe I’ll do a flashback post one of these days.

Peanut Butter Layer Cake {{Baking Bytes}}

This year, I wanted to hark back to the first cake I ever made: a chocolate cake, cream cheese peanut butter frosting, and chocolate ganache decadence that was amazing, albeit incredibly rich. Chocolate and peanut butter are a mutual favorite and this year I decided to reverse it in anticipation of a slightly less decadent confection. Borrowing a peanut butter cake recipe from The Daring Gourmet and pairing it with the same chocolate buttercream frosting from two years ago resulted the cake version of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

Peanut Butter Layer Cake {{Baking Bytes}}

The cake is moist with a fabulous peanut butter flavor, and pairs beautifully with the chocolate buttercream. I opted for just frosting and no extra filling, but for an extra kick some chopped peanut butter cups would be fabulous between the layers.

Peanut Butter Layer Cake {{Baking Bytes}}

Peanut butter chips make a fun polka dot decoration that keeps with the peanut butter theme while being a contrasting color to the frosting. Bonus: they are super easy to decorate with.

Peanut Butter Layer Cake {{Baking Bytes}}

Below find The Daring Gourmet’s peanut butter cake recipe with my minimal changes, followed by a reprint of my chocolate buttercream. The original cake called for baking it all in one layer and cutting the cake in half, but since I don’t have a tall enough cake pan for that I opted to divide it before baking. I actually prefer this method because there’s no cutting involved, but both ways should work equally well.

Peanut Butter Layer Cake {{Baking Bytes}}

As for the frosting, I used about a tablespoon of dark cocoa and the rest regular to keep with a more traditional Reese’s pairing, but if you’re a dark chocolate kinda person, go ahead and use all dark cocoa. It will be amazing. For assembly, use your favorite method or head on over to my chocolate layer cake for my own method. Just ignore anything that mentions a filling and use peanut butter chips or another topping for some flair.

Peanut Butter Layer Cake {{Baking Bytes}}

So next time you have a peanut butter fanatic to please, this cake will definitely fit the bill. Just be sure to sneak a piece for yourself.

Peanut Butter Layer Cake

Borrowed from The Daring Gourmet
Serves 8-12

Ingredients

1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup (rounded) creamy peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar (loosely packed)

2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 ½ cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt

1 cup buttermilk

Directions

  1. Line the bottoms of two 8″ (or 9″) cake pans with parchment paper. Butter and flour the pans, especially the sides.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. In a large mixing bowl (or with a stand mixer), beat the oil, peanut butter, and brown sugar on medium speed until combined and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs and vanilla, and mix on low until just combined.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.
  6. Starting with the dry mixture, alternately add it with the buttermilk, beat gently with each addition just until combined. Batter will be fairly thick.
  7. Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans and bake for 18-22 minutes. A toothpick should come out moist but not wet.
  8. Cool cakes in the pan for a few minutes, then turn onto a cooling rack to cool completely (about one hour).
  9. Wrap each layer carefully in plastic wrap, and freeze for 1 hour or until ready to frost.

Peanut Butter Layer Cake {{Baking Bytes}}

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

From Savory Sweet Life
Makes about 3 cups

Ingredients

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

3 ½ cups sifted powdered sugar
½ cup sifted cocoa powder3

½ tsp table salt
2 tsp vanilla extract

¼ cup tablespoons milk, half and half, or heavy cream

Directions

  1. Beat butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about three minutes.
  2. Add sifted powdered sugar and cocoa, and mix on low (unless you want a blizzard) until combined.
  3. Add vanilla, salt, and milk or cream and beat for 3 minutes on medium speed.
  4. If necessary, thin with milk/cream (1 tablespoon at a time) or stiffen with powdered sugar to desired consistency.

Notes

1 This cake is pretty beginner friendly, just be careful not to over-bake it.
2 It keeps well on the counter for a few days, just be sure to cover it with plastic wrap. (Once the frosting has set it shouldn’t stick much.
3 I used part dark and part regular, but any combination of cocoa powders will do; just make sure it all adds up to a half cup.